All posts by reneeinnd

Blessed Relief

My typical work day consists of seeing clients in therapy, doing formal psychological testing, consulting with other staff, going to meetings, doing paperwork, writing reports, answering and sending work-related emails, and taking care of whatever else my work place might throw at me.

In the midst of all this, I keep tabs on what is happening on my phone and my private laptop that I also have at work.  (I also check the  Blog for activity). My children and Husband are frequent texters. The main job for my private laptop is to provide Bluetooth connections to my sound bar so that I can listen to Classical MPR whenever I have a free moment while I do paperwork.

Throughout the day I also keep track of all the emails I get from the Regulatory Board of which I am the chair.  I can’t deal with the emails that arise when I am working, since that would be frowned upon, even though what I do on the Board is officially State business, and I am a State employee.  I understand the reasoning for this.

I typically get 10-20 emails from the Regulatory Board office each day.  I take care of them in the evening when I get home from work. There was a flurry of activity this morning, and then, blessed quiet this afternoon. I figured out that our Board secretary is taking a four day weekend to go camping.  What a relief!

I wish I were not so tied to my technology. As I read what I just wrote, I can’t believe I do all the things I just described. This just can’t be healthy!

How tied are you to technology? How do you set limits on it and on yourself?

Urban Legend

Today in 565 AD, St, Columba reported seeing the Loch Ness Monster.  I wonder how he would feel if he knew people were still talking about Nessie today.

Around Luverne, legend has it that Jesse James jumped his horse across a ridiculously wide gap at the Devil’s Gulch in Garretson, SD, running away from Northfield and the disastrous raid there.  I have seen the gap and I seriously doubt a horse could jump it, but what do I know? Luvernites also believe that a tornado will never strike the town because of some special characteristics of the Blue Mounds formations to the north of the city. Maybe. Maybe, though, we have just been lucky.

Any legends from where you have lived or where you grew up? What is your favorite urban legend?

 

Pessimist vs Optimist

I must admit am a pessimist. I worry about the worst case scenario happening. I am happy to say I am usually wrong, though. You would think that I would have sufficient evidence by now to be more optimistic about things, but that hasn’t happened yet.

I was really worried during  our recent trip to  my father in law’s funeral.   Husband comes from a blended family with two full siblings and their spouses, three step siblings and their spouses, and various married children and their spouses.  We all have traditionally got along pretty well, but for some reason I was worried about all Hell breaking loose when everyone was together en masse for the first time in 25 years.  My training  as a psychologist causes me to hypothesize about future behavior, and I focus on negative possibilities.

We have a Trump-loving NRA fanatic, two Bipolar Manic types (one of whom refuses to take medications),  some who drink too much, someone with a pain medication addiction, a hoity toity, self appointed manners expert, several evangelical conservative Christians, ELCA Lutherans, and several liberal Democrats.  What could go wrong when everyone is upset over a death?  Plenty, in my pessimistic mind!

Well, I was completely wrong. Everyone was pleasant, no one drank too much, and no one was manic. The NRA supporter was so angry about the scandals at the NRA headquarters he could hardly speak about it, and religion and politics and manners critique took a holiday. Phew!

When have you been wrong? What are you pessimistic or optimistic about?

Will You Be My Neighbor?

We have a small four year college in our town that is part of the ND University system. It is traditionally a teachers college, and also has a good business  administration department.   I was excited to see one of the new business faculty is a native of Bangladesh, and brings a family history of an uncle who is the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who created the Grameen Bank, which provides small loans for people in Bangladesh to start their own businesses.  The nephew brings the same sort of social responsibility to his class room, and I am really glad we have in increasingly diverse community.  His philosophy is that  you create business to solve social problems, unlike traditional businesses which are exclusively profit-oriented.

Every summer we have an ethnic heritage festival in which the Germans from Russia, Norwegians, Ukrainians, and Dutch groups have food booths and displays of traditional dress and crafts. The Mexican Americans have now joined the festival, and this year the local Rwandan community featured a traditional dance group.

I am happy to report that everyone in town seems to be getting along for the most part, and I am glad that we have new community members who aren’t like the majority of white mid-westerners.

Who would you like to see move into your neighborhood?

 

A Day At The Zoo

I came home from work yesterday at 10:00 am.  Friday is my short work day.  Husband asked as I came into the house “How about going to Bismarck to the zoo today”? I said yes, and off we went.

We haven’t been to the Bismarck zoo for years, not since our daughter was little. It was a fun day made really special by watching a zoo keeper train bobcats. They are trained, with raw meat treats, to follow verbal commands like sit, paws up, follow the target, and go in your crate. She also exposed them to sprays from a bottle of fly spray so they would tolerate the spraying. Raising one’s paw above one’s head allows zoo keepers to check paw pads for cracks or injuries, and underbellies for impending kittens or too much weight gain. Rufus, the bobcat male, loves being trained and is really good at all the commands. Ginger, the female, is a bit stubborn. Rufus hates the spray bottle. He very willingly went in his crate, an important skill to have if you need to go to the vet.

What a fun job!  The zoo keeper paired the command and its successful completion with a loud click and a morsel of raw meat. I don’t fully approve of zoos, but I see their purpose in protecting endangered species.  I would love to train bobcats! I wonder how they train the primates?

How do you feel about zoos? What are your experiences in training animals?

Being In The Right Place

I had a really interesting evaluation question to answer some time ago. It involved helping a psychiatrist with a diagnosis that she just wasn’t certain about.  The possible diagnostic alternatives were serious, one more so than the other.

I took an extensive history from the accompanying family member,  gave the client in question a series of tests, and came up with an alternative diagnosis that the psychiatrist hadn’t considered.  I am still waiting for testing to come back from family members and will then let the psychiatrist know what I am thinking in terms of diagnoses, and  what further steps the she needs to take with this client.

It was during the process of doing this evaluation that I got an exhilarating  sense that I absolutely loved what I was doing and was absolutely in the right place to be doing it. I don’t often get that feeling, but it is was nice when it happens.

What have been the times you got the feeling that you were absolutely in the right place, job, or relationship?

What About Cousins?

I live pretty equidistant from about three Indian reservations in three different states.  I sometimes see tribal members  at my community mental health agency.  Part of doing my work is getting a good family history.  I have noticed, over 30 years of practice,  distinct differences in how tribal members and everyone who is not a tribal member describes family relationships.  For my tribal clients, there are any number of aunties, uncles,  sisters, and brothers who are important in their lives. They  just don’t match how I, in my eurocentric  orientation, define family.

A good friend of our, a person who is an Arikara Indian,  one of the Three Affiliated Tribes from the Fort Berthold Reservation where Husband works,  posted on Facebook recently a way to navigate these family relationships.

This apparently comes from some sort of Mandan, Arikara, and Hidatsa tribal handbook. Here is how you navigate relationships. for boys. Girls are pretty much the same.

Who is my mother?

  1. My birth mother.
  2. .My mother’s sister
  3. My father’s brother’s wife
  4. My clan father’s wives (My father’s clan brothers)

Who is my father? 

  1. My birth father
  2. My father’s brothers
  3. My sister’s husband
  4. My father’s mother’s brother
  5. My clan fathers (My father’s clan brothers)
  6. My father’s sister’s son

Who is my sister?

  1. My blood sister
  2. My father’s brother’s daughter
  3. My sister’s daughters
  4. My female clan members (My mother’s clan)
  5. Female children of my father’s clan
  6. My mother’s sister’s daughter

Who is my brother?

  1. My blood brothers
  2. My father’s brother’s sons
  3. My sister’s son’s
  4. My mother’s sisters’ sons
  5. My clan male mothers
  6. Male children of my fathers’ clan
  7. My mother’s brother
  8. My mother’s mother’s brother

Who is my auntie?

  1. My father’s sisters
  2.  My father’s sister’s daughter-each generation
  3. My clan aunts (My father’s clan sisters)

Who is my grandmother?

  1. My mother’s mother
  2. My mother’s mother’s sister (Grandmother’s sister)
  3. My father’s mother
  4. My father’s mother’s sister
  5. My mother’s father’s sister-each generation

I notice that great uncles, great aunts, and cousins are defined differently here.  I also find that if I use this to define my family relationships, I have a lot more siblings, parents, and aunts and uncles. That is kind of comforting.

How do you define family? How would your definition change given the above information?